Frog spawn season; what do you need to know?

DSCN1181The onset of the warmer weather in February brought the start of the amphibian breeding season and the welcome appearance of frog and toad spawn in Britain’s ponds. If you are lucky enough to have spawn in your pond, we have a number of pointers for you to help you look after your amphibians.

Firstly, you can work out what species you have; frog spawn is laid in obvious jelly-like clumps, whereas toad spawn is laid in long chains which are often more difficult to see. Report your sightings to your local records centre- knowing where the animals are can help with their conservation.

If your pond looks like it’s over flowing with spawn, do not worry, there’s no such thing as too much frog spawn! It’s a harsh world out there; it’s thought that only one in 50 eggs laid will survive to adulthood, so you won’t ever be over run with frogs! The strongest and fittest individuals will survive to adulthood to ensure you have a healthy population of frogs in the future. 

The crucial thing to note is that it is very important that you do not move spawn between ponds. Unfortunately, there are a number of amphibian diseases in the UK, such as Ranavirus and Chytrid fungus that can decimate amphibian populations and lead to local population declines.

Crassula helmsii by V Matthews

Crassula helmsii by V Matthews

Another issue is invasive non-native pond plants, including Crassula helmsii (Australian Swamp-Stonecrop), which are extremely damaging to biodiversity and can result in the pond being filled in.

Movement of frogspawn from pond to pond can spread these diseases and invasive plants to new areas. Unfortunately, this has been the case at Parc Slip, with a pond being completely over run with Crassula. This is probably as a result of movement of materials into the pond from another infected pond. Please help us to prevent further invasions and do not transfer materials into the ponds.

The first sighting of frog spawn in the ponds at Parc Slip was on the 4th February this year. Let us know if you’ve seen any in your pond. Find out how  to create a pond in your garden.